Remembering Peter Pueschel, long-time compassionate voice for animals

Peter Pueschel, Czech Republic rhino horn burn, September 2014.

Thoughtful. Kind. Generous. Positive. Tough. Fearless.

These are but a few descriptions of Peter Pueschel that poured in from around the world when our organization learned that this morning, this true friend and valued colleague passed away after a sudden illness at only 59 years old.

He was surrounded by his family at a hospital in the south of Germany where he lived, and he is remembered by loved ones, friends and colleagues from around the world. 

I have always drawn strength from Peter. He was a close advisor and a close friend. His ability to engage with people is irreplaceable.

While his time with us has been cut short, his positive impact on the world is expansive and it will continue long into the future.

As our Director of International Environmental Agreements, Peter worked with people from many different IFAW offices, international bodies and other non-governmental organizations.

In these few hours since his passing, it has been a comfort and an inspiration to hear from people all over the world about how Peter has touched their lives and helped so many animals.

 

 

At IFAW and before that at Greenpeace, Peter was instrumental in increasing international protection for many wildlife species including several shark species, seahorses, turtles and tortoises, whales, elephants and tigers.

Peter’s effectiveness as an advocate probably stemmed from his tough but always congenial nature. He used words like “fight,” “demand,” “battle,” “friends,” “enemies,” when speaking about strategy and people who didn’t know him might've thought they were talking to a street fighter or a general. Yet in reality, he was the most good-natured, calm, and gentle-spoken person you’ll ever meet.

He was the face of IFAW at many international conventions and wildlife protection events, such as the Convention in Migratory Species in November 2014 and Czech Republic’s destruction of illegal rhino horn last September 2014.

I have heard people say in recent years that Peter was the best campaigner they’ve ever seen. Even after three decades in the animal welfare and environmental movement, Peter motivated, inspired and mentored young people to become a part of the animal welfare movement.

Peter was a determined, passionate and analytical campaigner with deep technical expertise, but he also was kind, funny and collaborative. He was compassionate to both people and animals, and he made people want to find a way to come together and make the world a better place.

I wanted to share these few thoughts from Peter in the video below where he talks about what animals mean to him in the hopes that it will inspire all of you who stand with me in carrying on Peter’s legacy.

Rest in peace my friend.

--AD

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